The Dahlkemper Administration have released a preliminary budget for the next year, one that does not call for a tax increase, despite shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Revenue for the county like the library and court fees are down severely. With many holding off until the end of the year to pay property taxes, County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper hopes their predictions will keep them in the green.
The Dahlkemper Administration announced a $484.3 million proposed budget for 2021 with no tax increase in sight, citing COVID-19 as a contributing factor.
“So many people are hurting. So many people out of work, income that have been cut and we didn’t want to put an extra budget on our tax payers.” Dahlkemper said.
This being made possible thanks to a healthy fund balance.
“Out of all the things we’re dealing with, it would have been unfair. If It was unfair to give the citizens a tax increase last year without the crisis with a healthy fund balance, it would have really been harsh to expect someone particularly those on a fixed income.” said Andre Horton, Erie County Councilman.
Dahlkemper recognized department heads across the board for coming together and controlling their spreading.
“Every one of them saw the situation we were in and we’re willing to make significant cuts to try and fill what was an $8 million gap at that point.” Dahlkemper said.
The county also benefiting from a decrease in pension costs and medical expenses by $770,000.
When it comes to the inevitable economic recovery of the county in the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic…
“We’re probably more prepared than many counties.We’re blessed to be one of only ten counties out of the 67 in the commonwealth to retain a health department.” Horton said.
The budget also comes with the elimination of six positions, and creation of six new ones.
The budget will still need to be approved by Erie County Council. That vote is expected to take place on December 1st.